Design Blog

Green design

Interested in green design? Examples of sustainable architecture from around the country? Interviews with sustainable architects and green builders who’ve created great examples of both eco houses and light homes – perfectly suited to the way we love to live?

Weekly the Green Design blog explores it all. From renovation ideas and new home inspiration to the challenges of small lots, compact homes, sloping sites and bushfire zones, each week we have a new take on how to create a sustainable home.

Plus, each month one of our Light Home Design Ambassadors – themselves leading Australian sustainable architects – chooses an eco home they believe is a great example of a light home, and in a live Green Design podcast interview we hear why.

Simply use the RSS button to subscribe to updates as they come through or dip into the archives to discover ideas and inspiration for your new sustainable house.


Why choose lightweight cladding materials?

Cheaper construction, faster build times and better for the environment – check out our top six reasons to build with lightweight cladding materials.


Designing a modern, geometric house with lightweight materials.

Geometry, drama, straight lines and a slick attitude – these are all the elements that we’ve come to expect from modern house designs. Using lightweight materials to it has never been easier.

Bushfire memories for a house built on a sloping site

Panoramic views and a building that blends into its bushland setting belie the traumatic history of this house designed on a sloping site.

Three inspiring holiday home designs by the sea, snow and bush.

A well-designed holiday house evokes different passions for different people. Whether your dream getaway is in the bush, by the sea or at the snow, one thing’s for sure: your holiday home’s architecture must to meet your family’s needs and those of the environment around it.

Check out these three inspiring holiday home designs to kick-start your own weekend getaway ideas.

House extensions on older homes: why front façades matter

The impact your home extension has on your property’s front façade matters more than you may think … and not just to your architect.


A dream coastal home inspired by childhood memories.

Childhood memories inspired a couple to build their dream home on a corner block of coastal land near Coffs Harbour in northern NSW.


Contemporary corner block house design

A corner block home is the perfect opportunity to maximize a house’s design on two sides, as this contemporary home on Queensland’s Gold Coast proved.

Modern design meets nature in Gippsland

Childhood holiday memories inspired a weekender at one with the nature around it.

Heritage meets modern in marriage of old and new

Hertiage requirements and a young family’s demand for more space saw old and new married together in historic East Freemantle.

Fire pole fab for an architectural gem

A fireman’s pole and an outdoor climbing wall might not be everyone’s idea of a sophisticated, architecturally-designed home, but for one Sydney family, they were the perfect finishing touch.

Rebuild at the beach

A split-level design no longer feasible for an older couple, who decided the beachfront home they’d owned for 25 years was no longer up to grade.

Warriewood Beach House

On a rocky, sloping site above Sydney’s Warriewood Beach, sits 2-Corner House, designed to make the absolute most of a very steep block.

Manly Beach House Magic

The first thing you notice about this stunning Manly beach residence, north of Sydney Harbour, is its classic white, weatherboard look. Reminiscent of a 1950s movie star’s home, the house embodies beach lifestyle, with coastal views, sea breezes and relaxed outdoor living.

Beach House Beauty Reinvented

A holiday beach house held in one family for three generations was reinvented to meet changing needs and embrace a traditional coastal look.

Dazzling Display

A display home for a Victorian builder showcases lightweight materials and natural timbers to produce a stunning coastal-feel house.

Expanding a small suburban home into a green design triumph

A local family on Queensland’s Sunrise Beach, wanted to renovate and add onto their existing home to give them and their three grown sons some extra space.

A timber worker’s cottage is beautifully transformed

From the front, it’s still humble timber worker’s cottage. Once inside, the home has been completely transformed. See how a Sydney couple created a light-filled home that was also kid-friendly.

Sloping site new home in Perth

A Perth-based couple wanted a new home to have two personalities: warm and traditional and edgy and modern. The result was a sloping site home with a ‘split-personality’.

A modern home for a growing family

A young couple with a baby on the way needed more space to accommodate their growing family. They asked Royce Beale from Optam Building Group to construct a home on land they had bought in a new estate on QLD’s Sunshine Coast.

A waterfront beach weekender

A client in Avalon, NSW with four older children wanted to completely renovate their current waterfront home and transform it into the perfect beach weekender for their family.

Coastal living in a pavilion-style beach house

A client in the coastal town of Hervey Bay, QLD, contacted Sunshine Coast-based architecture firm Bark Design Architects to create an open, breezy and sustainable home for their young family to grow into.

Renovating and expanding an outdated beach house

A Sunshine Coast family decided to give their tiny, out-dated shack a facelift with a modern beach house design, while creating a new home on the back parcel of land to create a dual occupancy.

A 1950s inspired beach house for a “shoes off” lifestyle

An architect crafted a beautiful 1950s inspired beach house to compliment his clients’ “shoes off” lifestyle and give them the feeling of being permanently on holiday.

Reviving a battered rental home

See how a renovation made an old California bungalow that was rented out for years and left in poor condition ready for the owners to make it their own.

Triumphing over the challenges of a knockdown rebuild

A knockdown rebuild on a steep slope overlooking Cairns posed a series of challenges for the builders who had to work with a difficult and dangerous climate to get the best result for their client.

Keeping the flow in a stylish renovation

Taking a lightweight approach allowed an architect to create a stylish design on both the inside and outside of her own home, breathing new life into an old 1900s cottage.

Adding a floor for a parents retreat

The parents of three young children created a space for relaxing and working, that gave them some privacy from their kids when they renovated their weatherboard cottage with a new floor for a parent retreat.

A weatherboard home with an award-winning pool

This home in Quindalup, WA for a young retiree not only boasts a reduced carbon footprint with its smart, sustainable design, but also won the 2014 WA Concrete Lap Pool of the Year award.

Seeing the light with an outdoor room addition

A reconfigured internal layout and a new outdoor room breathed new life and brought more light into a 1930s cottage that has housed three generations of a family in Brisbane.

A weatherboard home high on a hill

A weatherboard home originally used as a display home for a Cairns, QLD building company was designed with passive solar design elements and lightweight construction to lightly touch the earth and was ultimately bought by a family and adjusted to accommodate an occupant in a wheelchair.

A light-filled renovation and extension in Sydney

In the Sydney suburb of Cammeray, a renovation and extension of a 1920s cottage opened up the dark house and transformed it into a light-filled and open family home.

A knockdown rebuild sensation in Hawthorn

In the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn, a knockdown rebuild by an owner-builder has heads turning in a neighbourhood of outdated architecture.

A granny flat for a grandpa

Packing a one bedroom and 2 bathroom granny flat into 60 sq metres proved to be a challenge for a central coast building designer, whose clients wanted to have a grandparent move in, but maintain his own space and independence.

Overcoming a tough climate to create an energy efficient home

Creating a 6-star energy rated home in a tough climate zone in WA proved to be a challenge for a skilled architect, but his understanding of passive solar design and lightweight construction helped him meet the requirements without sacrificing the modern design.

A dream home for an adventurous lifestyle

A sense of adventure led a Western Australia architect to create a home for a like-minded client in Dunsborough, WA

Lightweight sloping style

On a sloping ridge in Wingham, NSW, a husband and wife architect team designed a uniquely shaped and sustainable home for their family.

Working the angles in an energy efficient extension

A planned knockdown rebuild of a weatherboard cottage turned into an impressive, funky and colourful home extension for a talented Melbourne architect and his family.

Seamlessly blending traditional and contemporary architecture

A lightweight and modern second storey addition to this traditional red brick house in Victoria was a design challenge for an architect, who wanted to bring the home up to the modern era without losing its original charm.

Connecting a contemporary addition to a traditional cottage

A home renovation and extension proved to be a challenge for a South Australian architect, as his client asked him to successfully connect a cottage style house with contemporary addition.

A lightweight and off-the-grid holiday house

A home in the process of being built on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula is the ultimate eco friendly home. Once built it will generate it’s own power, recycle rainwater and require no heating or cooling and will look great in the process.

Tropical beach house pairing

One block on the southern end of Trinity Beach was subdivided into two and had two uniquely designed tropical homes built on it at the same time. With strict environmental constraints and narrow lot sizes, building these beachfront homes was a challenge but turned out for the best.

A lightweight paradise getaway with an island view

Imagine that as you’re preparing a meal in the kitchen you can look out and see the sparkling blue ocean and an island. That’s exactly what the owner of this stunning, lightweight and sustainable Mission Beach house can do!

The ultimate compact beach house

Bigger is not always better, as was the case with this beautiful, sustainable beach house built on a 256 sq metre site and an equally small budget.

Opening up a dark Sydney terrace house

Terrace houses are generally known to be old, damp and dark, which is what made the task of opening one up to let in natural light and ventilation especially challenging for Sydney architect Clinton Cole.

A contemporary and lightweight retirement oasis

A solid combination of cutting edge design, future planning and sustainable design created an extremely stunning contemporary home in Brisbane for one lucky couple heading toward retirement.

Creating space for a family to thrive

This 70’s home got a much needed facelift and addition to provide a family in Brisbane with a contemporary and comfortable space for their two young children to grow up. Lightweight construction and sustainable design made it all possible with an outcome that exceeded everyone’s expectations.

A whale of a lightweight beach house

Directly in front of the annual whale migration path, this one of a kind beach house is the embodiment of lightweight construction, sustainability, unique design and jealousy inducing ocean views.

A personal lightweight triumph

A combination of lightweight construction and sustainable design features gave this Queensland architect an advantage when it came to building on a steep site.

A sustainable Sydney studio home

By using lightweight construction and sustainable design, architect Ben Giles was able to create a modern backyard studio home to be used by his clients’ teenage son and eventually as an investment strategy.

Blending traditional and modern design in Balmain

The traditional façade of this 150-year-old two-storey cottage in Balmain doesn’t give much away as to the extent of the renovation behind its modest entrance.

A modern makeover for a 19th century boarding house

Bringing a home built half in the 19th and half in the 20th century up to 21st century standards was no small task for architect Matt Day, but the modern outcome proved to be worth the challenge.

Crisp beachside elegance

A complete overhaul of an old cottage on Sydney’s eastern beaches transformed this family home into a breathing space filled with light and boasting enormous indoor/outdoor living capabilities.

All-star sustainability in Tweed Heads

Queensland architect Jim Mullins faced a list of challenges with his Bilinga project – especially in reaching his goal of creating a sustainable home while staying to a very low budget of $330,000.

Liveable Design in action

A house designed for a disabled client used liveable design elements to suit his needs and still came out as a beautiful piece of architecture.

A refined reno in Balmain

A sophisticated renovation in Sydney’s inner-west has left a family home looking terrific thanks to an emphasis on lightweight materials, which also enhanced the property’s environmental credentials.

Pastoral tranquillity in suburban Melbourne

Imagination, skill and a preoccupation with lightweight, sustainable design on the part of both designer and client resulted in a startling imitation of a blissful rural idyll in the middle of the city.

At rest at The Rest House

An extraordinary project that was more than five years from concept to completion is a perfect fusion of multiple vision and stands as a stunning memorial to an architect whose body of work is a testament to the glory of environmentally integrated design.

Cold Climate Eco House

How a gut feeling, determination and a vision of sustainable living got a Blue Mountains artist an inexpensive house of her dreams.

Bush House

A simple bush studio, with a wonderful feature inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, is a personal triumph for an extraordinary architect.

Bungalow reno

One Melbourne owner’s love of cats led her to take extreme demolition action and influenced the lightweight design aspects of her new extension.

The Million Dollar Tent

An ambitious blend of two design styles has produced a remarkable display home that demonstrates how good design can compliment and enhance life in the Queensland climate.

Renovation ideas: a great design and tight fit

The ultra-trendy Inner West of Sydney presents some unique challenges to ambitious homeowners and designers with design ideas that include sustainability, lightweight construction and comfort.

Gidgeganup House

Temperatures in the semi-rural town of Gidgeganup, 43km northeast of Perth, frequently hit 40 degrees Celsius and the winters can be pretty cold. It’s no wonder that the owners looked for a sustainable living solution for their new home that would tame the impact of such extremes.

Eco design gets the best from ocean and earth

An exquisite home on the WA coast proved to be a landmark build, harnessing inspiration from New Mexico with lightweight materials, for owners with a keen eye for sustainable design and sleek form.

Renovation ideas: grand designs and growing up

How a Sydney family is renovating their brick veneer home into a grand new light home that will happily house 10 people across three generations.

Taking sustainable post war modernism back to the future

When Mark Iscaro inspected Beaumaris House for the first time he had a vision. He saw exactly what it would look like. And that’s exactly what he achieved. Unique, spectacular and sustainable this unusual home also spoke to a particular design passion.

Junction House & living up to the change you wish to be

Some might call it a mid-life crisis but for two global nomads the question of what to do with their lives at age 30 not only gave them their mission in life but numerous sustainable building awards too.

New Year – New home conversion ideas

Many of us start the New Year resolving to reinvent ourselves in some way. But why not reinvent your home? It’s easier than you might think and doesn’t always have to start with a conventional house.

Living off the grid

A tricky eco house in a troublesome setting that other designers had struggled to make sense of. But preventing it all going up in smoke would ultimately dictate the form of Sutherland House.

Light Home’s 5 best beach houses of 2013

It’s nearly holiday time, and in line with the best Aussie traditions, many of us will be hitting the beach and chilling… So on that note, Light Home reflects on some of our favourite beach house designs featured throughout 2013.

Beach style: The shack is back!

The owner wanted to capture the spirit of an Aussie right of passage. The architect wanted to give it a sustainable, modern feel. Marrying the two wasn’t hard when they happen to be the same person.

Small home design: Inner city semi transformed

Dark, damp and cramped, this semi threw up some typical inner city challenges: west facing, low budget, an expanding family and a notoriously tricky council. The result ticked all the boxes.

Before and after: Genius facelift proves stunning overhaul

Take a look at these pictures and you will swear they are of two completely different buildings. Yet, look a little closer and they are in fact one and the same – just with a very clever facelift.

The new-aged beach house

Taking the concept of the typical fibro beach house to new heights, Charles Wright Architects has highlighted the possibilities of living in the tropics.

The house with no energy bills

While Sundance Habitats principal Ron Hustler is no stranger to a brief for a sustainable home, when he was asked to create a home completely off the grid with no energy or water bills to speak of, he knew he was in for a challenge.

The not-so quintessential Queenslander

While the clients had a strong connection to their existing home, they wanted to break free from a regimented streetscape, gain some much-needed natural light and give their growing children plenty of opportunity to play.

Clifftop home finds the light

Perched atop a cliff-face overlooking Manly on Sydney’s Northern beaches, the location of the Turner Residence was hard to beat. But its prime position made renovating a challenge.

The Ozone House: At home in the trees

The owner of the Ozone House described her first night in the home as “the best camping experience she’s ever had”, referring to the way the home almost floats among the trees on its leafy block.

Genius small home reno: The Bridge House

Irregularly shaped, wedged between two larger terraces, with minimal solar exposure, this inner-city block was a challenge at every angle. Yet the resulting renovation surprised almost everyone – and increased floor size by 50%.

Grey glory: the Full Metal Jacket home

He could have called it Armadillo House, this home that protects itself from bushfire at the touch of a button. But he didn’t. He called it Full Metal Jacket.

Rocky, steep and windy: the beach house that could

A rocky, steep sloping block might be a nightmare to some designers. For architect Matt Elkan, it was a golden opportunity for more livable space.

Incredible stats from World Green Building Week

To celebrate World Green Building Week, this week Green Building Councils in 98 countries have been running events – and sharing some incredible statistics on the surprising value of green building.

In Profile: Vibe Design Group

The New York Times has written about him. Stereos from the 1960s inspire him. Clients trust him. He is Michael O’Sullivan of Vibe Design Group, a designer who describes himself as “a 25-year overnight success”.

Hybrid design creates a home that floats

Two separated modules that “float” above the site: this is definitely a different approach to a single-storey, slab-on-ground home. Light Home Design Ambassador Peter Jongen explains.

Reitsma’s approach to function wowing Queensland: Practice Profile

Function first. That’s the philosophy of Reitsma & Associates who believe a home doesn’t have to be expensive or huge to be beautiful – it just has to be well thought out. And with two wins at the Queensland Building Design Awards in as many years – this philosophy appears to be taking root.

Country abode creates strong connection to nature

The brief: a home that’s private, energy efficient with a connection to the surrounding environment. The solution: a north facing living pavilion, a well-positioned internal courtyard and a lightweight design.

Home among the trees takes Qld accolade

A far cry from the waterfront mansions reminiscent of the Gold Coast, this modest and “economic” home has picked up one of Queensland’s most prestigious housing awards.

Wright House offers fresh take on tropical design

In the architect’s words the motivation for this tropical home was to create an extraordinary landmark that doesn’t look like anything identifiable. The Wright House is exactly that.

Renew, not rebuild, the greenest option: study

Wondering whether to renovate or rebuild? If you’re looking for the greenest option then renovation wins hands down, according to a new report.

House designs: Small space keeps family close

It’s that house on the hill that’s the envy of neighbours. Spacious and light-filled with sweeping views down the block, it is intimate, private and great for family dynamics.

Contemporary restoration: the new age flood house

After their home was severely damaged during the 2011 Queensland floods, the owners of the NA House wanted much more than a generic approach to the restorations. Reddog Architects delivered.

Five local designers flaunt 10 star designs

The Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) has announced the five finalists for this year’s 10-Star Challenge, a series of energy-efficient homes that combine great design with efficient planning solutions and creative materials.

Holistic design making a positive footprint

To building designer Jeremy Spencer, a sustainable home doesn’t just mean a 7.5 star rating and energy use two thirds less than the average Australian house. It also means low embodied energy, efficient water use and recycling 95% of construction waste.

Forest dreaming: The iconic Israel House, 20 years on

Some 20 years after the iconic Israel House was completed, the compact owner-built home is still making waves. Architect and Light Home Design Ambassador Misho Vasiljevich shares his commentary.

Contemporary twist on traditional Queenslander

A contemporary addition to a traditional Brisbane workers’ cottage flawlessly merges two epochs of architecture and encapsulates two distinct personalities. Light Home Design Ambassador Clinton Cole explains.

Base Camp: The lightweight luxury weekender

After considering this adaptable weekender’s response to a sloping block, an isolated bushfire-prone location and extreme climate conditions, it’s no surprise it was shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival Awards.

Contemporary renovation injects new life into traditional terrace

An ultra modern addition to a traditional Victorian terrace has resulted in a spacious home with two distinct personalities, loads of natural light and a strong connection to the external property

G.J. Gardner releases Australia’s highest-rating home design

G.J. Gardner Homes Victoria and Tasmania has released a 9.2 star rated home, the highest in the commercial building sector, in response to a growing consumer demand for sustainable homes.

Renovation brings light to the forest

The brief: more light, more space and a light environmental impact. The solution: a compartmentalised design, improved solar performance and a 54% reduction in CO2 emissions.

1960s reno overhaul for celebrity chef

Some love it, some hate it: the Wattle Avenue House, designed by MVS Architects for celebrity chef Stefano de Pieri, was awarded last year’s Australian Institute of Architects Award for Residential Alterations and Extensions.

Renovation success: from hated townhouse to lovely hill house

A run of the mill townhouse was unexpectedly transformed when architect Andrew Maynard came up with a practical and playful renovation.

Urban transformation: From dated brick to curvy chic

Working to a tight budget, a west facing orientation and a cramped site, one Melbourne architect turned a dark 1960s brick home into a bright and functional form marrying old school heritage with contemporary design.

From 1980s project home to contemporary award winner

By taking a contemporary approach to a second storey addition, Architect David Boyle has transformed a 1980s project home into an award-winning and sustainable coastal abode.

Reliving the past: Recycling a 1950s fibro cottage

Opting to restore his 1950s beachside cottage over a complete rebuild, owner architect Michael Dystart created an award-winning waterfront weekender for less than $180,000.

Award winning beach shack retreat for 20 people

The award-winning Swansea house by 1+2 Architecture captures Australian beach shack culture while accommodating sleeping and living areas for more than 20 people.

Home’s footprint less than a quarter of the Australian average

The occupants of Energy Architecture’s Aldinga House have slashed their environmental footprint to less than a quarter of the Australian average.

Island home takes new approach to prefab

Site: an island. Budget: constrained. Solution: a new take on prefab creating a standout piece of architecture that is not only sustainable but also represents a challenge to the traditional Australian residential market.

Off-grid straw bale home represmnets technical achievement

Client: Zoologist. Brief: A sustainable home. Solution: Off the grid, straw bale walls – and a true connection between client and architect. Design Ambassadors Penni Sutton and Peter Jongen explain.

Calling all designers! The Prime Minister’s house needs a makeover

A new competition has been launched to encourage designers and architects throughout Australia to sketch out their plans for a more contemporary residence for the Prime Minister on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

Australia’s first carbon neutral community – in Sydney?

An urban development on Sydney Harbour could become Australia’s first large-scale carbon neutral community after being accepted as a pilot project for the newly released Green Star – Communities PILOT rating tool.

Lightweight coastal development picks up HIA green award

A collection of light-weight, pre-engineered homes in the heart of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast have taken out the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) coveted GreenSmart Energy Efficiency Award.

Minimum impact

Working with a steep block and a client brief to minimise any impact on the surrounding site, architects Collaborative Design had their work cut out to create Holloway House, a sustainable holiday home in WA’s Margret River.

Casually coastal

Responding to a brief for a house on a beachfront lot that’s informal, comfortable and with plenty room for the client’s quiver of long boards – Base Architecture’s Shawn Godwin created a lightweight solution, aptly named ‘The Beach Shack’.

Keeping the character

A clever approach to an addition to an early 1900’s Queenslander cottage has culminated in a seamless transition between living, outdoor dining and garden areas, while maintaining the character of the streetscape.

Lightweight and carbon positive

Poor orientation, a minimum flood level and bush fire rating notwithstanding – one Queensland architect has used lightweight construction and attention to detail to create a home with an 8-star carbon positive rating.

Sustainable features enhance homes’ design

Two contemporary townhouses in Auckland are full of eco friendly features which do not compromise the quality of the design, in fact they enhance it says architect Frans Kamermans.

Lightweight designs pick up momentum in Sydney

The weatherboard look is coming back with a vengeance according to knock down rebuild specialist GJ Gardner Homes, who says a modern and sustainable take on the traditional weatherboard is taking North Sydney by storm.

Queensland builder keeps renovation small and sustainable

Queensland builder Sanctuary 28 has proved bigger isn’t always better by bringing a dark and dated worker’s cottage into the modern age.

Moving sustainable design into the neighborhood

Publicly serious yet privately light: that’s the philosophy of Creek Chic, an unusual South Australian home that represents a brave departure from the large family home on the big block.

Australian LCA tool recognised by world leader

An Australian Life Cycle Assessment tool has been recognised in an international study as being the best equipped to help residential designers and planners get to grips with the carbon impacts of urban development, and push sustainable buildings further into the mainstream.

A Lightweight winter warmer

Working to a brief citing contemporary design with significant practical benefits, Tasmanian builder Rainbow Building Solutions has delivered a three-bedroom 7.1 star home in Hobart, using exclusively lightweight materials.

TROPICAL HOUSE SERIES: Keeping cool a breeze

Working to a tight budget, and the needs of a young active family, Gordon Beath, director of Edge Architecture took a lightweight and innovative approach to this sustainable home in Cairns.

TROPICAL HOUSING SERIES 3: Rethinking Redlynch

After taking out two of Queensland’s most sought-after building design awards, designer Tony Lawson has proven it’s possible to create a sustainable and eye-catching home within a tight budget.

TROPICAL HOUSING SERIES: A new take on multi-residential

Cairns-based sustainable design firm Studio Mango has given new life to a dated Queenslander, reimagining a multi-residential development suited to the tropics.


An award winning and sustainable tree house, designed by MMP Architects, kicks off the Light Home Tropical House Series.

Energy efficient homes: Vineyard Vista

Peter Sutton’s lakeside project in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley brings together the location’s stunning views with elegant and energy-efficient design.

Beach house series: Design Ambassador’s Choice

The brief was simple: beach views and a cottage feel – but achieving this within a multi-residential development required an innovative and lightweight take on unit block construction. Design Ambassadors Penni Sutton and Peter Jongen explain.

BEACH HOUSE SERIES: weathering Stradbroke

A sustainable home suitable for a large dynamic family that responds to vicious weather patterns, all the while bonding with the natural surrounds, was no easy brief for this island abode – but architect Justin O’Neil was up to the challenge.

BEACH HOUSE SERIES: Double-up with prefab

A crumbling fibro beach house is now a light-filled home that’s twice the size – thanks to a prefab solution that dealt with the challenges of an awkwardly shaped block, tight timeframe and modest budget.

BEACH HOUSE SERIES: mastering the remote

Working with local tradespeople – and enjoying it in the process – is something Troppo Architects’ Phil Harris aims to achieve with most of his sustainable building projects. And with the Ballast Head Beach House, on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, he scored on both fronts.

Sustainable building: a cost effective sea change

A Tasmanian-based owner-builder has created a lightweight home on a steeply sloped block in Hobart’s Geilston Bay. Light Home Design Ambassador Misho says the choice of materials was not only more sustainable than a heavyweight home, but was 50% cheaper to build.

A Whale of a Beach House

Number one: it’s a huge sustainable home. Number two: you can watch the annual whale migration from it. Number three – and most importantly: it’s a party house, designed for having a whale of a time.

Ingredients of a sustainable home: PART 2

What ingredients are needed to create a sustainable home? To answer this question LightHome has assessed the key products chosen to use on the green affordable home prototype, the Smarter Small Home.

Sustainable design: prefab sustainability star

Splice Projects in Western Australia has created a multi-award winning pre-fabricated home, which applies a holistic approach to energy efficiency that guarantees a significant cost saving over the long term.

Ingredients of a sustainable home: PART 1

What ingredients are needed to create a sustainable home?

Green guide: steel versus wood framing

While wooden framing has been the standard method used in Australian home construction for years, the use of lightweight steel to frame residential structures is on the rise according to a number of industry sources.

Energy efficient home: Springfield scores 9.5 stars

Queensland builders Integrity New Homes have catered to a growing demand for energy efficient homes by achieving a 9.5 star home energy rating in their latest display.

Affordable homes: housing affordability at its best in Qld

A Queensland-based collaboration has developed a sustainable and affordable home and land package, addressing the needs of first homebuyers and downsizing baby boomers.

Lightweight renovation bridges eras

Designing an additional living pavilion to the rear of a heritage-listed federation home produced a number of challenges for architect David Boyle. But with savvy design and lightweight materials, the outcome flawlessly merges two starkly different eras.

Green building materials: assessing embodied energy

While the energy used in operating a building can be readily measured, it is much more difficult to assess the embodied energy within a structure. Light Home provides insight on how to hone in on a building’s embodied energy – and what can be done to reduce it.

Sloping block: A swim in the trees

This luxury home in Brisbane’s south has been built on a steeply sloped block, and features a swimming pool perched 10 metres off the ground.

Lightweight design gives first homebuyers the edge in competitive market

WA-based Willcox Architects has provided first home buyers access to the competitive Margaret River property market with a lightweight, sustainable townhouse complex, priced some 40% below the market average.

Eco at home: Kids’ toys

If you’ve got kids, you’ve got toys. But if you’re eco-minded, wouldn’t it be great if those toys could be environmentally friendly?

A postcard from Canada

Neither Robert Herman nor Scott Mooney is a builder. Nor are they architects. But the Canadian duo took on the challenge of designing their own super-eco home – and won.

Sustainable reno: One house, a trio of gardens

Three gardens, total ‘seal-ability’, noise-proofing and heat insulation. This old-style terrace in the heart of Sydney’s inner west has been transformed into a modern gem – with a 7.5 star energy rating to boot.

Eco living: Green babies

When you’re turning your home into an eco example, don’t forget the little one!

Healthy home: Designing for good quality air

We all know it’s unpleasant to walk down a gridlocked street breathing in toxic traffic fumes. So why would you put up with bad air quality at home?

A sloping challenge: Eco family home

Building on a slope presents a number of challenges, but they are challenges in which Sean Leigh, owner of Outlook Homes Qld, revels.

DIY the green way

Knowing where to start with DIY is one thing. Knowing where to start with eco DIY is a whole other ball game.

Townsville trio: Nine-star eco cottages

A trio of heritage-style cottages in north Queensland are proving heritage can be state-of-the-art.

The perfect small lot: A home of contrasts

Purpose-built for a retired Queensland couple, Flinders is the perfect example of contemporary small lot living. And having just clinched a regional architecture award for this home, designers Base Architecture have proved they were on to a winner.

Eco living on a grand scale

It’s not just one light home that Boris Planinac is building – it’s 17.

Room to breathe

Rather than building to the boundaries of their block, this couple created a home with a whisper-small footprint, leaving them plenty of outdoor space.

An Edwardian Makeover

Six people in an Edwardian cottage was becoming a little too close for comfort for one Melbourne family. The solution? A renovation marrying old-world charm with new-world flair.

A dream of going green

Renovate or rebuild? It’s a curly question for any homeowner but the family living in this Norah Head home took a bold step to create a house for the future.

Green flooring: Sustainable carpets

Did you know that corn can be turned into carpet? Or that a sheep’s wool is brilliant at absorbing and releasing moisture? And ever heard of llama and alpaca carpets?

Renovation ideas: from holiday rental to permanent home

Turning a holiday home and rental into a full-time family house was the challenge set for Queensland building designer Simon Scott.

Energy-efficient ski chalet design

A $200 quarterly electricity bill – in the snow? In designing an energy-efficient ski chalet, Cox Architecture turned to passive solar, lightweight materials and even an indoor sauna.

Energy efficient building: beachside star

Our latest Design Ambassador’s Choice demonstrates how a light home can overcome an orientation that’s not ideal – and still be comfortable all year round.

Green interiors: Finding beautiful sustainable lighting designs

Light up your life with sustainable lighting designs that are sure to brighten up the indoor and outdoor areas of any home.

Fire resistant building with eco friendly design

Eco friendly house built in a bushfire zone using sustainable architecture and fire resistant building materials.

Design challenges of island living

Building an eco friendly holiday house on an island can present multiple design challenges that can be overcome with careful planning.

Energy efficient homes: Dunsborough delight

A builder’s own home shows off the beauty of energy efficient, sustainable house design.

Beach house escape – Surf House 1

Design Ambassador Ed Ewers reveals why Surf House 1 ticks all the boxes as a beautiful beach escape – and simply constructed light home.

Son of a builder rises to the occasion

The Cape Rise project in Western Australia ticks all the boxes for sustainable passive solar building design.

Painting roof white saves energy and cools buildings

New research by a leading Australian university has revealed that painting your roof white can reduce heat by about 30°C.

Sea for yourself: The blueprint to beach house design

Here comes a set of five designers to get you amped about the modern day makings of the humble Aussie beach house.

Australian Design: Sustainable beach house

An award winning sustainable beach house design built in just eight weeks on the NSW mid north coast.

Australian architecture: Built around the Tuckeroo

Design Ambassador, Shane Denman, chose Fingal House as his Ambassador’s Choice this month for the way the design wraps around a 135-year old tree to really blur inside and out.

Design Everyday; Organic Textiles

Hi! Iím Joanna, a writer for Design Shuffle, an online portal to fabulous interior design and designers. I am crazy about design and spend my days writing guest posts such as this one on Light Home.

Universally appealing

A home designed for a wheelchair bound client suits him perfectly – and looks like any other house…

Green Undressed: Top Stories for 2011, see you in 2012!

Lighthome recaps the most interesting and most viewed stories and podcasts in our Green Undressed stories this year.

Dear Design Expert: Top stories for 2011, see you in 2012

Lighthome recaps the most interesting and most viewed stories and podcasts that you asked our Design Experts.

Green prefab walls

A reader asked: “Is there a company in Australia that manufacturers prefabricated wall systems in industrial hemp that could be used in conjunction with steel framing?”

Australian Design: Light Box

A contemporary cubic form constructed primarily with glass and concrete has become an adored family home brimming with light and style.

10 inexpensive, thoughtful gift ideas

It’s hard to find the perfect gift, especially an inexpensive, thoughtful one. Here are a few ideas to make it easier on you and your budget – most are well under $50.

Art House

Combining building design with art has created a house that is a living, breathing artwork to be enjoyed every day.

Design Ambassador: On prefabricated homes.

Design Ambassador Ed Ewers broke with tradition this month, and rather than discussing a particular project chose to talk about prefabricated homes including both the construction and the end results.

Australian design: Four-way Win

A contemporary beach house showcases how sustainability principles can be a win for client, designer, builder and the environment.

Australian Home Design: Multi-generation living

An innovative new display is designed for multi-generational living, allowing the one house to be used as four separate homes.

Shifting American design

Beyond the barcalounger

How Do I… protect from the western sun and storms?

A reader asked us: “How do you design to protect /insulate the Western side of your exposed build from Heat and South West Storms ?”

Renovation ideas: ‘Before and After’

When an existing house no longer provides the living solutions required but the location remains ideal, choices include bulldozing or renovating. Adding an extension onto an existing house can be a cost-effective and sustainable option.

The practical & aspirational

Nothing will make more of a statement in your home than lighting. It sets the mood, directs attention and expresses who you are, both practically and aesthetically. It’s so important from an energy-savings standpoint that you might want to enlist the help of an expert before you even change a light bulb. Designers can help narrow your needs and navigate the plethora of choices.

Australian Home Design: Shipping Container House

From shipping containers to country home – two readers share how they did it.

Design Ambassador’s Choice – Currumbin Duplex

Design Ambassador Shane Denman chose Malcolm Cummings’ beachside duplex as his Ambassador’s Choice largely because of the way Cummings ‘read’ the site.

Green design: new approach to retirement living.

When three older couples decided to have a home designed to suit all three of them, it really set the local town tongues wagging.

Green building: Cyclone-style

On this build in cyclone-prone Broome, lightweight materials were the solution.

Design Ambassador’s Choice – Kurreki House

A beautifully designed courtyard home that uses a simple plan and palette of materials to create a modern beach house that’s perfectly in touch with its older neighbours.

Renovation ideas: Going up in Bronte

When adding a second storey to this Bronte home, building on top of a brick structure needed a light touch.

Green building: Have you thought about the future?

If you’re taking a green approach to building your home, you won’t just be thinking about the environment, but also about the community, future generations and your quality of life.

Australian Home Design: Sunshine days

Building higher on a block means this Queensland home is now suitable for all seasons, come rain or shine.

Australian Home Design: Simply smart

Keeping it simple helped this Queensland builder create a castle for his wife in a build that was virtually stress free.

Design Ambassador’s Choice – Christian Residence

This innovative inner-city renovation cleverly and efficiently combines old and new.

Australian Home Design: Brighter times

Going up has made all the difference to the owners of this inner city terrace.

Australian Home Design: The renovator

Take a peek inside a massive renovation by one of our readers.

Australian Home Design: Enchanting Escape

We take a look inside a Victorian escape by Australia’s most famous architect.

Australian Home Design: Universal Success

Smart design and plenty of forethought, have made this universal-access home a haven for all seasons.

Australian Home Design: Seeing double

We take a look at how Melbourne architect Ed Ewers is progressing with his innovative dual occupancy project in Geelong.

Design Ambassador’s Choice – Sunbrite Residence

The old style beach house gets a modern twist through cutting edge style and design.

Australian Home Design: Life on land

After years at sea, this Queensland home has ensured its owner remains a happy land lubber.

Australian Home Design: Look twice

The two faces of this Launceston renovation have left its owner/builder with room to spare and a style he loves.

Australian Home Design: Renovation Insider

We’re following one of our readers as they undertake one massive renovation. Here’s how she’s going.

Australian Home Design: Smart Style

Combining practical with luxury is easier than you’d imagine.

Australian Home Design: Mixing it up

An innovative dual occupancy project sets out to challenge design conventions in downtown Geelong.

Australian Home Design: From pew to wow

A successful church conversion leaves its owner/builder very satisfied.

Design Ambassador’s Choice – Charlotte House

A home for all seasons.

Australian Home Design: Throw the plans out the window

Time and chance took care of this stunning cottage renovation.

Australian Home Design: Bouddi weekender house

How a weekend home design on the Central Coast combined style, sustainability and fire safety in Bouddi National Park.

Design Ambassador’s Choice – Tree House

Design Ambassador Ed Ewers chose Jackson Clements Burrows’ Tree House as his first featured Light Home because it’s just “a stand out lightweight house”.

Australian Home Design: Wily Willett

Good design and a clever use of materials turned a 1920s timber shack into a peaceful but modern haven.

Australian Home Design: Light is right

Light was right to help this Queensland home capture the best of the views.

Australian Home Design: Renovator’s reality

Over the next eight months we’ll be following one of our readers as they undertake one massive renovation.